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Congratulations to the Class of 2014

Posted May 23, 2014

It took Cholla Magnet High School seniors four years to earn their diplomas. It took them 14 minutes to make the long procession from the school auditorium to their seats to receive their diplomas at the Cholla graduation ceremony Thursday night. They seemed to enjoy every step along the way.

About 2,635 students received their high school diplomas Wednesday and Thursday in ceremonies held on football fields, in auditoriums, at the University of Arizona's Centennial Hall and Music Hall, in a school courtyard, the Governing Board meeting room—all over the city.

Dr. H.T. Sánchez, TUSD superintendent, spoke to Sabino High School's seniors and noted that their achievements helped Sabino become one of only three in the state to earn a National Blue Ribbon School designation.

He congratulated Sabino students on attracting more than $13 million in scholarship offers. All in all, the Tucson Unified School District graduating Class of 2014 was offered $88,125,761 in scholarships.

On a personal level, Dr. Sánchez encouraged the graduates to take time to think about who they are at their core, to understand what they believe in. He suggested they write down the things they feel define them and lessons they feel are important. In the future, when their studies or their jobs or their lives get difficult, they should read what they wrote down.

"You will find clarity. You will find direction, and you'll hear the voices of all those who encouraged you to be at this point," Dr. Sánchez said.

Yousef Awwad, TUSD's Deputy Superintendent for Operations, told Cholla's class of 2014 that he didn't know what his next step was going to be when he graduated. He encouraged the grads to believe in themselves and concentrate on finding their paths.

"Be determined, stay focused, and you will achieve whatever you set your mind on," Awwad said.

Hector Ayala, chosen 2014 Teacher of the Year by Cholla's students, reminded students of his classroom rules, which can be applied in the graduates' future endeavors: Attend every day, do all your work to the best of your ability, help more, dream more, do more.

A Few Highlights

 • A breeze kept the outdoor ceremonies cool but took many a balloon for an unexpected ride.
 • The gift trend of the year seemed to be leis made of all sorts of things: Flowers, dollar bills, candy, even Top Ramen. Some students were practically drowning in their leis.
 • Some of the most interesting sights were found by looking down—at the graduates' feet. Graduates wore platform heels, tennis shoes of every color, sandals, flip-flops and stillettos.
 • Vendors set up outside some graduations selling items such as teddy bears and noisemakers.
 • Dr. Adrian Vega, Deputy Superintendent for Curriculum and Learning, spoke to Sahuaro High School's seniors. He noted that some students would be going to college, others to the military, others to jobs. Whatever the next steps are, he said, "I know without a doubt you are going to do great things."

Valedictorians and Salutorians

Finally, congratulations to TUSD's valedictorians and salutatorians. They are:

Catalina Magnet High School

Valedictorian: Dagem Eshate
Salutatorian: Minh Trang Le

Cholla High Magnet School

Valedictorian: Dulce J. Jimenez
Salutatorian: Jocelin Ramirez

Palo Verde High Magnet School

Valedictorian: Karah Jorgensen
Salutatorian: Avriana Martinez and Brittany Paluszek (tied)

Pueblo Magnet High School

Valedictorian: Victoria Manriquez
Salutatorian: Yvonne Salcido

Rincon High School

Valedictorian: Joshua Smutzer
Salutatorian: Marrissa Carrillo

Sabino High School

Valedictorian: Kelsey Bushell
Salutatorian: Jaime Porter

Sahuaro High School

Valedictorian: Amanda Marie Nicholas
Salutatorian: John Dylan Carlson

Santa Rita High School

Valedictorian: Vy Thuy Nguyen
Salutatorian: Duy Trong Van

Teenage Parent High School

Valedictorian: Alice Impraim
Salutatorian: Ruthmarie Rosadillo

Tucson High Magnet School

Valedictorian: Thea Storey
Salutatorian: Samantha Neville

Dr. Vegas's Address

Dr. Sanchez's Address

(Note: AGAVE, Mary Meredith K-12, Project MORE and University High School do not name valedictorians or salutatorians)

Graduation Pictures